Summary: God made a covenant or contract with the Israelites. He has made contract with us too. We’ve got to follow it if we expect the blessings of God.
January 7, 2001 Deuteronomy 29:1-29
“Going a new direction”
It’s a new year. Some would even say that it’s a new millennium because the millennium begins with year 01 rather than year 00. How many of you made new year’s resolutions? How many of you have already broken them? This time of year is a good time to look back at the past year, see what was good about it and what was not so good about us in it, and based on that, make plans for the new year. Some people are perfectly satisfied with what went on and the direction that they are headed in. Others want to set some new goals, new priorities and establish some new action plans to help them get to where they want to go. “I want to lose 15 pounds by the time that it’s warm enough to put on a bathing suit.” That may be a good goal – a good direction to head in – but without an action plan – what food you’re willing to cut out of your diet, a regular time and means of exercising – you’re going to be wearing a robe over last year’s bathing suit rather than fitting into that one that will show what a hunk or babe you are.
As a church, it’s a good idea for us to do some evaluating to. We need to look at what worked this past year, what didn’t, where we believe the Lord wants us to be 6 months from now, and how we’re going to get there. What direction does the Lord want us to go in as a church? What direction does the Lord want your family to go in? What direction does He want you to go in?
The book of Deuteronomy is all about going in a new direction. Last week, we looked at the Israelites and their constant complaining. No matter what God did for them, no matter how He provided for them, they complained. When it came time for them to complete their journey through the desert and take control of the land of Canaan, they complained that they were not going to be able to do it. They were afraid that they would not be able to go up against the giants in the land. So they complained to Moses and to God. They said, “You’ve brought us out here to die. We’re going to die. Our wives are going to die. Our children are going to die. It’s hopeless.” Because of their lack of faith and their unwillingness to obey God, God punished them. He withdrew His offer of provision and protection and told the people that they were going to wander in the wilderness for 40 years – long enough for every person 20 years old and older to die. So they headed back out into the desert, away from Canaan – the land flowing with milk and honey – and they wandered for 40 years.
Prior to that point, they had had a purpose – a goal, a reason for living. Their goal was to get to the promised land and build a new life for their children. Now, they had no purpose. They were just surviving – trying to find water again, and eating manna again. Their only purpose was for the younger generation to watch the older generation die. Wandering from place to place, going no where except to the grave.
You ever felt like you were wandering – just surviving with no real purpose and no one who really cared whether you lived or died? Let me tell you that God offers a way to get out of the wandering and to find a new direction and purpose for your existence. That’s what Deuteronomy is all about. The 40 years is now over. All those who were 20 years old or more at the rebellion have died. The new generation is ready to take over. God has led them back to the brink of the promised land. But before they can go in, God gives them some instructions through Moses. To this brand new generation, Moses gives teaching that he gave to their parents 40 years ago. He reminds them of their parents’ failure to believe God and the terrible consequences they had to pay. He reminds them of the 10 commandments and other laws that God had made. And then at the end of the book, he tells them what will happen in their individual lives and in their life as a nation if they choose to obey or disobey God. Beginning today and continuing for the rest of this month, we will be looking at chap 29-31 of this book. It was given with the purpose of helping the Israelites go a new direction into a new land. I believe that it can help us as we enter into a new year and see what new direction the Lord would have us go.